by Jeff Bernardis, Director
Based on the teaser that Rex showed at the last meeting, I am full of anticipation – both at Rex’s upcoming talk, and on the actual events to come in the sky over the next few months.
For those who were not there last month, Rex showed a video clip – perhaps 20 seconds in length – that showed comet ISON on its inward trajectory towards the sun. Although only a few seconds in length, it represented about 30 minutes of real time, and in that brief time, the movement of the comet against the background stars was readily observable. It was a fantastic video, and I look forward to the remainder of the story that Rex will provide us at the next meeting.
I also look forward to the comet itself. I wrote about this earlier, but in summary, the comet is currently inward bound. It is observable, but it won’t be at its closest to earth until after perihelion sometime around Christmas. Although there is some question about what will survive perihelion, this comet has the potential to be brighter that Hale-Bopp.
Changing subjects to the continuing saga of the observatory donation, we have acquired all of the items from the donation and will move forward with the testing the OTA to decide whether or not we want to swap it with the current C14 at Washington Crossing. The camera equipment, although somewhat dated, is also high quality and something that members of the club can readily use.
The real area of concern for me is the dome itself. When we picked it up, it was disassembled. The pieces are scattered to John Giles’ storage locker and to Ludy’s and my homes. Even not considering my own personal situation here, I do not want the club imposing itself on John and Ludy for an extended period of time. We need a resolution as to what to do with the dome – and selling it is an option – in the near term, hopefully before the end of our club year. We have never seen it in its assembled form, so we cannot represent that we have every nut and bolt needed to reassemble it. It would have to be sold “as is” which, to some extent, will compromise the price we can command.